Travel Document to Maintain My Green Card Form I-131

Take the necessary measure to maintain your green card (permanent resident) status when traveling abroad. With our Form Navigator™ we guide you step-by-step through the process and complete your Form I-131 accurately.

Travel Document Form I-131

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Form I-131

Form I-131 is needed to apply for a Reentry Permit, a Refugee Travel Document or an Advance Parole Document.

Reentry Permit

A Reentry Permit allows U.S. green card holders (permanent residents) and conditional residents admission into the United States after travelling abroad. A Reentry Permit ensures your immigrant status is not invalidated because of time spent abroad. For example, if you are a green card holder (permanent resident) and are absent from the United States for 1 year or more without a Reentry Permit, your green card (permanent resident status) may become invalid, in order to avoid this you need to file Form I-131.

Refugee Travel Document

A Refugee Travel Document allows U.S. refugees or asylees admission into the United States after travelling abroad. You should file Form I-131, Refugee Travel Document if you are classified as a refugee or asylee nonimmigrant or if you are a green card holder (permanent resident) as a direct result of refugee or asylee status. While it is optional for refugee green card holders (permanent residents) to travel with a Travel Document, it is required that nonimmigrants holding refugee or asylee status obtain a Travel Document in order to be able to return to the United States after travelling abroad.

Advance Parole Document

An Advance Parole Document allows a person who is otherwise inadmissible entry into the United States. Advance Parole Documents also allow persons who have accrued unlawful presence to travel abroad temporarily and return to the United States, waiving the 3-10 year bar of inadmissibility they would normally be subjected to. Advance Parole Documents may also be issued to a person with a pending I-485 application, a person with a pending application for Temporary Protected Status or someone who has been granted temporary protected status.

Advance Parole Documents are granted rarely.

How Do I Get a Reentry Permit:

If you are a United States green card holder (permanent resident), you only need a Reentry Permit if your intended period of absence is greater than 1 year. If your trip will be less than 1 year, you do not need a Reentry Permit.

Reentry Permits issued to green card holders (permanent residents) are generally valid for 2 years from the date of issuance.

Reentry Permits issued to conditional residents are valid for 2 years from the date of issuance or until the date the conditional resident must apply for removal of the conditions of his or her status.

You must apply for a Reentry Permit while physically present in the United States. However, you can arrange to pick up your Reentry Permit at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. You only need remain in the United States to attend your biometrics appointment, if necessary.

How Do I Get a Refugee Travel Document:

A Refugee Travel Document is needed for nonimmigrants in the United States under a refugee or asylee classification or permanent residents whose status is directly related to their time as a refugee or asylee. You will need a Refugee Travel Document to return to the United States after travelling abroad.

Refugee Travel Documents are generally valid for a period of 1 year without extension.

You should apply for a Refugee Travel Document while physically present in the United States. However, you can arrange to pick up your Refugee Travel Document at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. You only need remain in the United States to attend your biometrics appointment, if necessary.

It is possible to apply for a Refugee Travel Document abroad. You must be able to demonstrate that your abrupt departure from the United States was due to an emergency abroad that needed your immediate attention, making it so there was not enough time to acquire the documents necessary for your leave.

How Do I Get an Advance Parole Document:

Advance Parole documents are issued to persons who are unable to receive traditional documents allowing them to re-enter the United States after temporary time spent abroad or to enter the United States for a temporary period of time. Listed below are the various categories for which an Advance Parole Document may be issued.

  1. Unlawful Presence
    • If you have accrued unlawful presence in the United States and wish to travel temporarily abroad and return to the United States without being served with the usual 3 to 10 year period of inadmissibility.
    • Advance Parole Documents are only issued if it can be proven that extreme hardship will befall the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse of parent of the applicant. The Advance Parole document may be issued for humanitarian reasons, to assure family unity, or when it is otherwise in the public interest.
  2. Enter the United States from Abroad
    • If you are outside of the United States and need to visit the United States due to an emergency. You must prove that you cannot obtain the necessary visa and any required waiver of inadmissibility. A person in the United States may file Form I-131 on your behalf if you meet these eligibility requirements.
  3. I-485 or Temporary Protected Status
    • If your Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, is pending and you need to travel abroad for a personal emergency or for a business.
    • If your Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protect Status, is pending or if you have been granted Temporary Protected Status and your travel abroad will be brief, casual, and innocent.

What is a Reentry Permit?

A Reentry Permit allows U.S. green card holders (permanent residents) and conditional residents to travel abroad for a temporary period of time (2 years or less) and be allowed admission back into the country without losing their immigrant status.

What is Unlawful Presence?

Unlawful presence is when a person remains present in the United States past the valid period of their visa. In most cases, if you have been unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days and leave the country, you will be barred from returning, inadmissible, to the United States for a period of 3 to 10 years.

What is a Conditional Resident?

A conditional permanent resident is issued a green card that is valid for only two years. You may obtain conditional permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or through entrepreneurship. You may apply to remove the conditions of your residence by filing Form I-751 and be granted an unconditional, 10 year green card.